I’m joined today by Apple Gidley who is sharing #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about These include some of the many places in the world where’s she’s lived, her eclectic reading tastes and the pets rescued from very unusual places!
1. Having lived in 12 countries as diverse as Papua New Guinea and The Netherlands, I now divide my time between Houston, Texas and Christiansted, on the beautiful island of St Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands. My first book, Expat Life Slice by Slice, tells of the highs and a few lows of a global life.
2. I’m a Gemini or, in the Chinese horoscope, a dog.
3. My two historical novels, Fireburn and the sequel, Transfer, were set on the aforementioned island covering the period from 1876 until the transfer from Denmark to the US in 1917. They chronicle the lives of those on a sugar plantation and how a rebellion – fireburn – started by justifiably angry labourers 30 years after emancipation impacts all on the island. Transfer takes the next generation through travels in Europe for their education before returning to the West Indies to become instrumental in the sale of their beloved islands. I’m thrilled that both books are being picked up by book clubs in the UK, America and Australia.
4. I’ve just started a new manuscript – another historical fiction – this time set in 1950s Malaya during a time euphemistically called ‘the Emergency’. In reality a vicious war against guerrillas intent on spreading communism throughout the country and the region. It is a love story for a country, and a woman.
5. I’m currently reading Small Wars, Faraway Places by Michael Burleigh – research for the above. I’m also reading How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs – which will be the last fictional book I read until I’ve finished the first draft of the MS.
6. I have always been an avid reader with an eclectic taste – Jane Austen, Pico Iyer, William Boyd, Joanna Trollope, Maya Angelou, Tan Twan Eng, Abraham Verghese, and recently Kate Quinn.
7. A cat rescued from being kicked into the ocean from the Boardwalk on St Croix shares my life, as does a dog rescued by my daughter from a rubbish heap on a beach in Trinidad. Bonnie and Clyde both make my life richer, if more complicated.
8. I went to my mother’s old boarding school in Australia from the age of ten, and loved it… mostly.
9. When living in Equatorial Guinea in West Africa I had the honour of being the British Honorary Consul, a role that involved aiding DBNs – distressed British nationals – sometimes springing them from jail!
10. Before I start writing a book, I write a pretty in-depth backstory for each main character. So much so they tend to take on a life of their own. For example, Anna who features in both Fireburn and Transfer became so real to me that as I wandered down the aisle of a fabric shop in Houston and saw a gorgeous bolt of yellow silk, I said, “Anna, that would look perfect on you!” It took a few more steps before I realised I was talking aloud to a fictional woman. A little disconcerting.
Thanks to Kelly from Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part. Transfer is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order a copy online here: Transfer
About the book
Transfer traces the lives of those on Anna’s Fancy, the Clausen estate on Saint Croix in the Danish West Indies, handed down through three generations. An historical novel andthe sequel to Fireburn (OC Publishing 2017), Transfer sees Niels Clausen, the illegitimate child of a Danish landowner and his black mistress who both died as a result of the 1878 worker revolt, leave his adoptive mother’s sugar plantation and sail to England to continue his education.
With the help of Toby, a British aristocrat, Ivy, a lady’s maid turned lady and her botanist husband, Timothy, Niels challenges the perceptions on the streets of London of a black man at the turn of the 20th century. His development as a writer and political protagonist continues as he travels to Denmark and France where he meets up with childhood friends, Javier and Fabiana Gomez, before returning to Saint Croix.
The Danish West Indies face an uncertain future as the declining sugar industry lessens Denmark’s interest in their colonial outpost. Niels becomes increasingly involved in the future of the islands as war looms and concerns grow that Germany might covet a presence in the Caribbean. Will the islands’ security be guaranteed by the transfer of power to America?
The highs and lows of Niels’ life are punctuated by the crossing of oceans and cultures as well as the political manoeuvrings of a turbulent time in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.
About the author
Apple Gidley, an Anglo-Australian author, whose life has been spent absorbing countries and cultures, considers herself a global nomad. She currently divides her time between Houston, Texas and St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands.
She has moved 26 times, and has called twelve countries home (Nigeria, England, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Scotland, USA, Equatorial Guinea), and her experiences are described in her first book, Expat Life Slice by Slice (Summertime 2012).
Her roles have been varied – from magazine editor to intercultural trainer, from interior designer to Her Britannic Majesty’s Honorary Consul. Now writing full time, Apple evocatively portrays peoples and places with empathy and humour, whether writing travel articles, blogs, short stories or full-length fiction.
Her first novel, Fireburn, set in the Danish West Indies of the 1870s, was published October 1st, 2017 (OC Publishing).